Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North MP: Plant More Trees to Cut Flood Risk

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North MP: Plant More Trees to Cut Flood Risk

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor jon.walker@trinitymirror.com

BRITAIN should plant 200 million trees to cut the risk of flooding, according to an MP. Northumberland MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan set out her plan for a massive tree-planting campaign in the House of Commons.

She said planting trees in river basins would "help nature to hold water" and protect homes and businesses.

It follows weekend floods in which more than 70 homes in Northumberland were flooded and had to be evacuated.

People in Corbridge were helped out of windows into waiting dingies after the Tyne entered their homes.

And the River Wear in Durham burst its banks, leading to the closure of Framwellgate riverside footpath.

Winds of up to 70mph were recorded in the North East, closing roads and causing sports events to be cancelled - but Cumbria was the worst affected, with bridges collapsed and main roads washed away.

Mrs Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, asked Ministers to consider plans to plant more trees "as a matter of urgency".

She said: "In the light of the floods in Cumbria and elsewhere, I am pleased to say that flood defences provided security and protection, as they were supposed to, in north Northumberland."

She asked Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss: "Will the Secretary of State consider, as a matter of urgency, increasing the number of trees we plan to plant during this Parliament from 11 million, which equates to only one tree for every five people, to some 200 million, which equates to five trees for every person? "They would cover some 50,000 hectares, much of which could be in the upland areas of river basins, to help nature to hold water and to reduce the risk of flooding in the long term."

The Minister told her: "Although my thoughts are with those who were flooded, 8,000 houses in the north of England were protected by our flood defences. …

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